The Quest to build is postponed for now.
Consideration for a proposed luxury condominium project on Oak Bay Avenue, named the Quest, has been deferred by Oak Bay council until a draft Official Community Plan is prepared and gets first reading. However, some councillors wanted to reject it outright because of its size.
Large & Co. Developers owner Earl Large proposes to build a five-storey, 15-unit, multi-family residential complex at 2325 Oak Bay Ave. Oak Bay’s planning department refers to the roof as a fifth floor because it will have an open deck, garden and fitness room.
The building would be built to high environmental standards and include numerous features to promote healthy living such as chromotherapy lighting, structured and treated water, radiant heat and the fitness room. The property is zoned single-family and the proposal requires numerous variances including zoning, setbacks and an OCP amendment. Currently, an older home is situated on the 983.6 m2 lot and a large Garry Oak tree is located on the neighbouring property to the east.
Municipal staff recommended deferring consideration of the project until the new OCP is drafted, which is expected this fall. The majority of council agreed but Coun. Pam Copley voted against the recommendation.
“I don’t feel this is necessarily the right proposal here, even if it’s deferred,” Copley said. “For me, how does the community benefit from this?”
Coun. Cairine Green also wanted to completely decline consideration of the proposal, but voted for a deferral, saying she wants to wait to see what the new OCP allows.
“It’s the right building on the wrong lot,” Green said, explaining she would rather see a low-density project on the property such as a duplex. “I’ve spent time on that lot … It would be shoehorning a giant building on a tiny lot.”
Large said he was disappointed with council’s decision but will try again once the draft OCP is released and he will take council’s input into consideration.
“I thought we had a good project,” Large said, citing a recent survey saying almost 80 per cent of Oak Bay residents approve of higher density. “We worked very, very hard in putting together what we think is beneficial for the community.”
Large added that he canvassed the community, going door-to-door to get the opinions of nearby residents for his project and it was well-received by the majority. He also held a community meeting in January about the proposal, sending out invites to 800 Oak Bay households.
Three letters opposing the project were received by council, along with an opposition petition from residents of neighbouring York House Apartments.